Man hospitalized in grip of three-meter king cobra

By Phuoc Tuan   August 20, 2020 | 12:09 am PT
A 38-year-old man from Tay Ninh Province in southern Vietnam was rushed to hospital on Wednesday after a three-meter king cobra bit him and coiled itself around his arm.

Phan Van Tam of Tan Chau District was in critical condition and transferred from the Tay Ninh General Hospital to Ho Chi Minh City's Cho Ray Hospital.

He is in the intensive care unit.

On Wednesday morning he decided to go out and check when his son told him he saw a giant snake on their farm. When he arrived at the farm, he suddenly spotted the giant snake right by his feet and reflexively used a hand to grab it. The snake eluded his grasp, bit his right thigh and coiled itself around an arm and neck. Unable to shake it off, he grabbed its head with his other hand.

People nearby quickly tied a cloth around his leg as a tourniquet and taped the snake's mouth. Tam was rushed to the Tay Ninh General Hospital 20 km away by taxi.

Nguyen Van Tam with the king cobra on his arms at Tay Ninh General Hospital on August 19, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Vu.

Nguyen Van Tam with the king cobra around his arm at the Tay Ninh General Hospital on August 19, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Vu.

A doctor said: "The patient was able to communicate normally when admitted to the hospital. We were able to remove the snake before treating him."

Some 30 minutes later Tam turned pale and experienced shortness of breath. Doctors inserted a tracheal tube and put him on a ventilator before shifting him to HCMC.

Dr Lieu Chi Hung, director of the Tay Ninh General Hospital, said he has treated many snakebite victims but never one with a living snake attached to them.

Cho Ray doctors said Thursday the man has been in stable condition. He was awake, able to move his arms and legs and no longer needs ventilation support.

Doctors added that it would take another 24-48 hours to determine whether the patient suffered acute myocarditis or not.

The snake has died.

The king cobra, the world’s longest venomous snake, delivers enough poison in a single bite to kill an elephant.

The fatality rate is high if victims are not promptly treated.

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